IE8 Meta

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 0:58 | Filed in Standards, Technology

Okay, I’ve covered this briefly before but as it was buried deep inside the post, people might not have actually bothered to read it, assuming they were even interested in my opinion in the first place. Plus, having read what Roger and Eric have to say on it, as well as the 600+ comments on the IE blog entry, plus what Chris Wilson had to say about it, my opinions have crystallised somewhat.

I have three main thoughts on the subject. These are the first two.

  1. Blinking flip! (or words to that effect) Some people will look for any old excuse to have a kick at Microsoft, won’t they?
  2. I’m glad that a lot of people — on both sides of the argument — are able to remain reasonable about it. That’s how we should do things.

I worry that the third may come over as a little controversial.

I think it’s a good idea.

I don’t think it’s a perfect idea; if they could have found a way to implement “true standards mode” as default, that would have been perfect. But of course they couldn’t have done that without breaking various old sites that people expect to work (and will blame MS if they stop working in IE8).

After all, as Eric points out, this sort of happened before with the introduction of the DOCTYPE. You had to specifically tell your sites you wanted them to render in a particular way by using a DOCTYPE if you wanted standards-compliant code. In other words, it was an opt-in then too.

And it wasn’t a perfect solution then, either. I’ll acknowledge it’s an imperfect solution, but it’s also an imperfect world and I’d rather spend more time trying to make my sites usable and accessible to as many people as possible than bickering about what Microsoft should have done.

Of course, if Microsoft plan for retaining support for IE7 even through until IE15 or whatever, it’s going to make their job a lot harder, but hell, that’s not my problem. If they’re prepared to do that, that’s fine by me…

Will I risk using the edge case? (asks Microsoft to render according to whatever it’s most up-to-date standards are).

Of course. I expect Firefox, Opera, Camino, Safari and the like to render my pages according to whatever their most up to date standards are, trusting that if they tinker with the standards, they are doing so to make the rendering more standards compliant. So I’ll be doing the same with Internet Explorer.

It’s not that much of a drag for us hep standards cats to add one measly meta tag, is it?

(and yes, I have read the arguments against it. you’re entitled to hold a contrary opinion, but if you do then please don’t assume that I’m stupid or wrong; start from the assumption that I have access to the same data as you but have simply drawn a different conclusion…)

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2 Comments to IE8 Meta

  1. Anthony says:

    February 13th, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Yeah I agree, it’s not horrendous, but as I said in my post it just feels a bit clunky…

    I also find it quite amusing that they are so worried about breaking the web when their browsers have essentially already been doing that for years!

    I also think that it does set a bit of a precedent. What if Firefox wants you to add a bit of code, then Safari, then Opera, then every iteration of mobile browser.

    But, overall, it’s not going to cause the web to tumble down just because we had to add a few charcters of code. And at last we can move towards a much more stable design environment.

    It’s just not a very standardsy or elegant solution – and I think that is the reason why it has upset people so much.

  2. Georg says:

    February 14th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    What makes me dislike the announced ‘version targeting’ is the defaulting to IE7 when a known doctype is used and no ‘version targeting’ added. IE7 is a weak “stop-gap” version, and not a good fall-back/lock-down for non-updated sites and un-informed designers.

    Other than that the ‘version targeting’ is a non-issue for informed developers. We’ll play with it a bit when IE8 arrives – before settling on a suitable routine to get the kind of versioning each of us feel comfortable with.

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